29 Jan The historic city of Vienna with a modern perspective
Michael Ludwig, Mayor and Governor of Vienna, speaks about his vision for the future of his city
What are the main challenges in maintaining Vienna’s excellent status in business and investment?
We’ve achieved very high standards in public services in the last decade, particularly in housing where optimal subsidized housing keeps rents low. Public transport is also subsidized which means that it now has more users than there are drivers in the city, and our green and community spaces are excellent.
Vienna is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities, for which we have a series of expansion plans for inner and outer city areas. In fact it is now the second largest German-speaking city, after Berlin, and the largest of all for student population.
You were appointed mayor of Vienna in May. What are your investment priorities for social projects and other developments?
Digitalization is one of the main issues for education, labor and business in general, and I believe it is important to embrace this development together, for security in employment and to strengthen Vienna as a business location. We are already in a good position, with our dynamic startup community, highly-qualified staff, and the technical education provided by our academic
institutes and universities.
Our population growth has led to several plans for urban expansion, which will be developed according to certain strategies, such as smart applications, combining different social groups, as well as a mix of different urban functions to include housing, leisure, shopping and business, and good transport links.
We also emphasize the community spirit. In our Aspern development we have organized a local events and community management group to give people the combined benefits of city and community living. Soft urban renewal in Vienna preserves our historic architecture and renovates buildings, as well as prioritizing social development. We have received awards and financed many programs. Vienna is also one of the most successful conference tourism destinations in Europe, and one of the major cultural capitals. Our Opera House is of course world famous, and our museums and art galleries make up some of the best.
What are your tourism strategies for the coming years?
The Vienna Tourism Board chooses a different focus each year to appeal to different groups of tourists, which has led to a general increase across all ages and categories of tourists. Recently we featured art nouveau exhibitions including works from Klimt and Schiele.
What is your assessment of the impact of EAP so far?
We have two funds in Vienna for purchasing land for development, for housing and for business
and industry. Biotechnology is another focus for private and state enterprises, universities and individuals, and we are seeing development in several specialties..
“Particularly important to me is the continual development of Vienna as a successful business location, while encouraging social equality and cohesion.”
Michael Ludwig, Mayor and Governor of Vienna
I want to give you the opportunity to add anything we’ve missed. And I would like to know your vision and the main challenges for the next few years, and how you intend to put Vienna on the map.
One of the points that is particularly important to me is the continual development of Vienna as a successful business location, while encouraging social equality and cohesion. I believe the social aspect is always at the forefront of development and trends. Digitalization is a perfect example of this: some people will benefit from it; others will feel left behind, so we have to maintain a social balance, which we can address with education. I think we need the combination: economic and business development for the business focus, and digitalization with a social and educational approach to maintain cohesion.
We have a unique demographic in Vienna, with a population that is increasing rapidly at both ends of the cycle, so we will be faced with a dual challenge of providing good childcare and facilities for the elderly.